Some non-profits have turned to hiring illegal immigrants as consultants to help the legalization movement achieve its goals, according to Felipe Sousa Matos, an online advocate with Presente.org and a panelist who participated in Campus Progress’s Fighting for Immigrant Rights in a Diverse Movement panel.
Immigration law prohibits companies from knowingly hiring undocumented workers, but Sousa Matos said many of these non-profits have chosen to bypass these laws by hiring illegal immigrants such as himself as independent contractors.
This allows them to legally say the illegal immigrants whose services they contract are not their employees, thus allowing them to get around employment verification laws.
“Just so people know, I got paid because some non-profits have decided to start allowing DREAMers that have limited liability corporations, LLCs, to actually work for them,” Sousa Matos said. “So there are a whole bunch of people because we don’t look like a typical immigrant that the media has portrayed us to be that work for non-profits that have absolutely no papers.”
Sousa Matos complained about how the law treats illegal immigrants as criminals, especially laws such as Arizona’s Senate Bill 1070 that make individuals like himself subject to automatic deportation, which he said sets modern immigrants apart from earlier groups such as those who came through Ellis Island.
He and his co-panelists also emphasized the need for cooperation between the gay-rights movement and the movement for rights for illegal immigrants because they said their interests overlap. They also suggested the need to engage non-Hispanic immigrant groups.
Co-panelist Sian Miranda Singh OFaolain questioned corporate support for immigration reform, suggesting that their only interest in the issue is rooted in a thirst for cheap labor.
“There’s not a private sector solution problem,” OFaolain said. “Only public policy can solve a problem of this magnitude.”
Immigration law gives certain Asian immigrants a privileged status because of their educations. Panelists argued that the law should treat skilled and unskilled immigrants more equally.